Steven G. Rogelberg, a Chancellor’s professor at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, has a solution. Drop the standard topic list in favor of a list of questions, Rogelberg writes in Harvard Business Review. Instead of a topic titled “Budget Problems,” consider a question such as: How will we reduce our spending by 100K by the end of the fiscal year?
Here are some other ideas for meeting agenda questions for PR and marketing teams.
- How can we increase media mentions by 20% in the next three months?
- What should we do to increase the number of our Facebook followers by 50% in the next three months … and generate more engagement?
- How do we improve our employee communications on sexual harassment?
- What communications do we need to do on the coronavirus?
- What process shall we use to choose a service for media monitoring and measurement?
- How can we better measure the effectiveness of our PR or marketing campaigns to prove their value?
- What steps do we need to take to better prepare for a PR crisis?
- How can we create 30% more sales leads for [product name] in the next 60 days?
Questions rather than topics will help you think strategically and critically, says Rogelberg, author of The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance. They’ll also help determine who to invite to the meeting (people who can answer the questions) and when to end the meeting (when the questions are answered).
Key Elements for Drafting Agenda Questions
Some key steps Rogelberg recommends for replacing agenda topics with questions include:
Ask how to achieve specific, challenging goals. Setting challenging – yet realistic – goals can help motivate team members. Clearly state the challenge or problem.
Ask meeting attendees for input on creating questions. They’ll feel a greater sense of commitment to the organization. Drop suggestions that don’t ask clear, challenging and attainable goals, and questions that pertain to only a subset of attendees.
Save the best for first. Put your most compelling questions at the start of the meeting so they receive the most time and attention. Placing the best first will also gain attention and convey the importance of the meeting.
3 Criteria for Meeting Agendas
Corey Wainwright at HubSpot recommends that meeting agendas state:
- The topic (or question)
- The person who will lead the discussion on each item, and
- The amount of time allotted to each item.
That will help keep the meeting on track and prevent it from being derailed into unproductive, irrelevant conversations, Wainwright says.
One topic to always cover in marketing meetings: A quick review of your most important marketing metrics, she adds. These should gauge the marketing’s team overall success, rather than niche metrics. Save those niche metrics for monthly meetings that review month-over-month progress
The Value of a DRI
Naming a person who will lead the discussion for each topic and then oversee post-meeting follow-through promotes accountability and helps ensure goals will be met.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs popularized the practice of creating directly responsible individuals or DRIs. A DRI would “own” the task” from meeting discussions to post-meeting execution.
As Apple employees spread to other companies, the practice has gained traction throughout the corporate world.
Bottom Line: Well-crafted meeting agendas can help motivate PR and marketing teams and place personnel on the path to meeting the organization’s goals. Conversely, meetings without well-written agendas can go astray and stumble into time-wasting, rambling discussions.
Michael Kling is manager of public relations, marketing and social media at Glean.info, a media monitoring and measurement service that provides customized media monitoring and PR analytics solutions.